[Edu-sig] A suggestion for a high school programming project

Arthur ajsiegel at optonline.net
Wed Sep 8 14:21:32 CEST 2004

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Jordan Johnson [mailto:jorjohns at cs.indiana.edu]
> Sent: Tuesday, September 07, 2004 11:36 PM
> To: Arthur
> Cc: edu-sig at python.org
> Subject: Re: [Edu-sig] A suggestion for a high school programming project
> On Tuesday, September 7, 2004, at 06:48  PM, Arthur wrote:
> > IMO, there is a very important distinction to be made between exposing
> > students/kids/whatever to tools built for scientists by scientists and
> > "learning environments" of various kinds.
> Having tried a couple of things along those lines, I'd say that's a
> good idea, with the big caveat that there sometimes are usability
> issues that get in the way.  (We technically-minded folk aren't always
> the best about cleaning up the interfaces...)
> That said, it's even worse to find usability problems in the "learning
> environments" you speak of--and there are those out there, too.

Agreed. On both points.

Though I would make the point that the problem with usability problems in
learning environments, in particular, is the lack of incentive (at least
inner directed incentive) to make the effort to overcome it.  After all, its
only a learning environment - theoretically conceived - not something
"real". My own tolerance for learning to learn to navigate learning
environments is near zero. So, for me, it takes almost nothing for that
environment to become unusable.  Though I am not a paid subject, or being
graded on by ability to do so.  

So I might skew the statistics a bit ;).

In my own case, I can point to the effectiveness of something like Numeric
as a tool for learning mathematical concepts.  Its documentation is sketchy,
its interface - beyond access to it from the Python interactive prompt -
non-existence.  It was conceived certainly primarily as a practical tool,
not a teaching tool.  

My point of view on these things are certainly skewed by my own temperament
and experience.  But I never have had reason to consider myself very unusual
in any ways the count on these kind of matters.

Except for the fact that my learning endeavors tend to be inner directed and
motivated.  And I guess it is hard for me to assess the difference between
that situation and the situation of someone being force fed.  


> jmj
> --
> Jordan Johnson -- Mammalian Biped

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